Last week Betsy and I took our first vacation since our Honeymoon and it was great. We rented a convertible and drove up the California coast, stopping each night to stay with friends. The sunshine was incredible, the wine was terrific and the conversations were great.
The only problem was the water. And it’s a big problem.
Of course I’m talking about the drought in California.
In Santa Barbara, we stayed at a friend’s house he’d built on the foundation of another house that had burned down a few years ago in a terrible fire. And fire danger is still at an unprecedented high.
At restaurants along the coast, nobody brings water to you unless you ask.
Many businesses will lose significant investments they’ve made in landscaping; and city parks may be allowed to brown under the hot, dry sun.
And worst of all, as we ate with Rice, Almond and Walnut farmers in northern California, they told about how they’re having to play their part and only harvest 50% of the land they’d normally harvest.
Of course, everybody is having to do their part and everybody is sacrificing.
What matters most about California’s plan to survive this drought, then, is that everybody understands the plan. Can you imagine having to communicate with that many millions of people what each persons’ role is in staving off a greater crisis?
Late last year 4 key players from the state of California flew to see us in Nashville to work on their communication plan.
As we met, we talked about how important it is that they speak clearly, simply and definitively as they tell the story of the crisis. And we’re proud to say they came through. Gov. Jerry Brown announced the plan last week and, top to bottom, it’s true to the StoryBrand 7-part framework.
It’s a complicated issue communicated very simply.
As you learn to communicate that critical message you’ve got burning inside you, you can learn a thing or two from the players in California.
Below, I’ll link to their web-based communication, but for now, here are seven major paradigm shifts we guided them through.
They work in any form of communication. I hope they help you too.
- Make sure you frame the reader, customer, donor or voter as the hero. You—the writer, the speaker, the company, the organization—are never the hero.
- Play the role of guide for the hero. Let your company, brand or organization assist the customer in winning the day. Give them the key information, encouragement or resources they need.
- Define the problem clearly. Don’t use vague language. Keep it short and simple.
- Define the solution clearly. Again, don’t use vague language. Paint a picture of what the world could look like if your solution was accepted.
- Let each person know their role in the struggle to achieve success. Give them ownership.
- Call the customer to action. Make the Call to Action clear. People won’t take action unless they are asked to.
- Let people know the consequences of not taking action. Without knowing the consequences, there’s no tension in the story.
The StoryBrand framework works.
We’ve taught these paradigm shifts to Fortune 500 companies, life coaches, plumbers and pastors. The principles are universal. They are working well in the campaign in California and we’re ecstatic to have played a part in preserving that beautiful state.
If you’ve got a message you’re dying to tell and need help clarifying it, register for one of our Nashville workshops today.
Read more about the California’s water effort HERE.